Polycom Chimes In on Microsoft OCS Integration

The company's announcements at VoiceCon follow similar announcements by other vendors in the unified communications space.

ORLANDO, Fla.-Polycom on March 17 will join the growing chorus of vendors integrating with Microsoft's Office Communications Server 2007 with new high-definition video and audio conferencing links to OCS.

Polycom high-definition audio and video as well as Telepresence endpoints and infrastructure will integrate with OCS 2007 to allow end uses to easily make voice and video calls through OCS. They will communicate with OCS via industry-standard Session Initiation Protocols.

The aim of the integration, being announced at the VoiceCon show here, is to bring Polycom videoconferencing under the unified communications umbrella so that it can be accessed as easily as any other UC application.

"Video has traditionally been a stand-alone, parallel application that didn't interact with other applications. Basically, this means that a customer who has a commitment to OCS and wants to include video as part of a UC environment can do so," said Joan Vandermate, vice president of marketing for video solutions at Polycom.

Polycom will deliver the integration in three phases, starting with the ability to see Polycom endpoints from the OCS buddy list. That will come by the end of the second quarter. Polycom will later add the ability to include presence indication for OCS in its endpoints. That second phase is due by year's end. By mid-2009, Polycom will add native integration with Microsoft's Real Time Video codecs.

"Over time we'll enable presence on our endpoints so that you can pull up a buddy list with presence information for OCS clients as well as Polycom endpoints. Likewise, from within an OCS client you can include Polycom endpoints for group conferencing and Telepresence so that you can see within the buddy list and click to call," Vandermate said.

Also at VoiceCon, Avaya introduces products aimed at making remote workers part of the bigger picture. Read more here.

In other VoiceCon news, Polycom introduced its first suite of productivity applications for its line of IP phones. The embedded applications, dubbed Productivity Suite, provide Polycom's SoundPoint phones with access to corporate directories using industry-standard Light Weight Access Directory protocols, local call recording using a local USB flash drive and visual conference management for up to four participants.

At the same time, Polycom added a pair of new VOIP (voice over IP) management tools for IT administrators that allow them to measure VOIP call quality in real time and more easily deploy new call control applications.

The real-time quality monitor gathers data on Mean Opinion Scores, jitter, delay and other factors that affect call quality so that IT managers can troubleshoot voice call quality problems, said Alain Mowad, senior product manager for VOIP applications for the company.

Polycom is actively working to develop a stable of third-party application developers for its IP phones. It has created an API that can be used to create new personal productivity applications for its IP phones or to integrate PC-based applications such as Microsoft's Outlook or hosted applications such as Salesforce.com, Mowad said.

The SoundPoint IP productivity suite is due in April.